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Saṃyukta Āgama: Mindfulness of Breathing

801. Five Dharmas

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park.

At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “There are five dharmas that bring many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti. What are these five?

“Abiding in the pure precepts of the Prātimokṣa rules, abiding and progressing perfectly with majestic deportment, with fear and concern arising for even minor transgressions. Accepting, maintaining, and studying the precepts is called the first practice that brings many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.

“Moreover, bhikṣus, having few desires, few possessions, and few affairs to attend to, is called the second dharma which brings many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.

“Moreover, bhikṣus, knowing moderation in food and drink, having neither too much nor too little, and to not give rise to thoughts seeking and desiring food and drink, considering only the essential matters, is called the third dharma which brings many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.

“Moreover, bhikṣus, not slumbering at the beginning of the night or at the end of the night considering only the essential matters, is called the fourth dharma which brings many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.

“Moreover, bhikṣus, spending leisure time within the forest, away from various troubles and conflicts, is called the fifth dharma which brings many abundant benefits for the cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

802. Knowledge

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park.

At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “You should cultivate mindfulness of breathing. A bhikṣu who cultivates mindfulness of breathing, cultivating it assiduously, obtains rest in body and rest in mind, with vitarka and vicāra, with extinction and purity, connected with knowledge cultivated to completion.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

803. Knowledge

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park.

At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “You should cultivate mindfulness of breathing. If a bhikṣu cultivates mindfulness of breathing, and cultivates it much, he obtains rest in body and mind. With vitarka and vicāra, tranquility, purity, connected with knowledge cultivated to completion.

“How does one cultivate mindfulness of breathing, so that having cultivated it much, he obtains rest in body and mind, with vitarka and vicāra, extinction, purity, connected with knowledge cultivated to completion? This bhikṣu, if he depends upon a village or city, in the morning gets dressed, grabs his bowl, and enters the village to beg for food. Skillfully protecting his body guarding the doors of his faculties, he skillfully fixes and steadies the mind.

“After begging for food, he returns to his original place, puts away his robe and bowl, and washes his feet. He then goes to a forest, or an empty room, or below a tree, or perhaps an empty place outdoors. He then corrects his body, and sits down. Fixing his mindfulness before him, he severs worldly craving and affections, in purity apart from desires, severing hatred, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. crossing over doubts and confusions, with his mind obtaining resolve from skillful dharmas. Detached from the afflictions of the Five Hindrances of the mind which cause his wisdom-power to weaken, and act as obstructing factors, making one not go to Nirvāṇa.

“Mindful of the in-breath, he skillfully trains with focused mindfulness. Mindful of the out-breath, he skillfully trains with focused mindfulness... for long breaths... for short breaths... breathing in aware of the entire body, he skillfully trains breathing in aware of the entire body; breathing out aware of the entire body, he skillfully trains breathing out aware of the entire body. Breathing in aware of calming bodily formations, he skillfully trains in breathing in aware of calming bodily formations; breathing out aware of calming bodily formations, he skillfully trains in breathing out aware of calming bodily formations.

“... aware of joy... aware of bliss... aware of mental formations... breathing in aware of calming mental formations, he skillfully trains in breathing in aware of calming mental formations; breathing out aware of calming mental formations, he skillfully trains in breathing out aware of calming mental formations.

“... aware of the mind... aware of gladdening the mind... aware of steadying the mind... breathing in aware of releasing the mind, he skillfully trains breathing in aware of releasing the mind; breathing out aware of releasing the mind, he skillfully trains breathing out aware of releasing the mind.

“... contemplating impermanence... contemplating severance... contemplating desirelessness... breathing in contemplating cessation, he skillfully trains breathing in contemplating cessation; breathing out contemplating cessation, he skillfully trains breathing out contemplating cessation.

“This is called cultivating ānāpānasmṛti so the body is calm, the mind is calm, with vitarka and vicāra, with extinction and purity, connected with knowledge cultivated to completion.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

804. Cutting Off Thoughts

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park.

At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “You should cultivate ānāpānasmṛti. Cultivating ānāpānasmṛti, cultivating it assiduously, cuts off thoughts. How is ānāpānasmṛti cultivated, cultivated assiduously, to cut off thoughts? If a bhikṣu depends upon a village or city... as previously stated... up to the skillful training of breathing out, contemplating cessation. This is called cultivating ānāpānasmṛti, cultivating it assiduously, to cut off thoughts.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

As with cutting off thoughts, it is also such as this for becoming immovable, obtaining great fruit and great benefit, and also so for obtaining the nectar of immortality, the ultimate nectar of immortality, and for obtaining the two fruits, four fruits, and seven fruits. Each sūtra is spoken just as the previous one.

805. Ariṣṭa

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “As I expound ānāpānasmṛti, have you cultivated it?” At that time, there was a bhikṣu named Ariṣṭa, seated within the assembly. He arose from his seat, adjusted his robe, and paid his respects to the Buddha. Kneeling with his right knee to the ground, he joined his palms together and addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, as the Bhagavān has spoken of ānāpānasmṛti, I have cultivated it.”

The Buddha said to Ariṣṭa, “Bhikṣu, How do you cultivate ānāpānasmṛti as I have expounded it?” The bhikṣu addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, regarding past formations, I pay these no mind. Regarding future formations, I do not give rise to delight for them. Regarding present formations, I do not give rise to defiling attachment. Regarding internal and external obstructions and thoughts before me, they are skillfully removed and extinguished. I have thusly cultivated ānāpānasmṛti as expounded by the Bhagavān.”

The Buddha said to Ariṣṭa, “Bhikṣu, you truly cultivate ānāpānasmṛti as I have expounded it. It is not uncultivated. However, bhikṣu, in regard to your cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti, there is still that which is superior, surpassing, and higher. What is it that is superior and surpasses the cultivation by Ariṣṭa of ānāpānasmṛti? This bhikṣu, if he depends upon a city or village... as previously stated in detail... up to skillfully training breathing out, contemplating cessation. This, Ariṣṭa Bhikṣu, is superior and surpasses your cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

806. Kapphiṇa

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. At that time, in the morning, the Bhagavān put on his robe, grabbed his bowl, and entered the city of Śrāvastī to beg for food. Having eaten, he returned to his residence, and put away his robe and bowl. Having washed his feet, he grabbed his niṣīdana, entered the Andha Grove, sat below a tree, and in the daytime, he contemplated in dhyāna.

Then Venerable Kapphiṇa, also in the morning, put on his robe and picked up his bowl, and entered the city of Śrāvastī to beg for food. Returning, he put away his robe and bowl. After washing his feet, he grabbed his niṣīdana, entered the Andha Grove, and sat in dhyāna below a tree. Not far from the Buddha, he made his body straight and unmoving, correcting body and mind, in supreme wondrous contemplation.

At that time, many bhikṣus in the afternoon, emerged from dhyāna and went to visit the place of the Buddha. Bowing their heads at the feet of the Buddha, they withdrew to one side. The Buddha said to the Bhikṣus, “Do you see Venerable Kapphiṇa? He is not far from me. sitting correctly with body straight, body and mind unmoving, abiding in supreme wondrous abiding. The bhikṣus addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, we have seen that venerable sitting correctly with his body straight, skillfully preserving his body, not leaning and not moving, in supreme wondrous concentration.” The Buddha said to the bhikṣus, “If a bhikṣu cultivates samādhi, with body and mind peacefully abiding, not leaning and not moving, abiding in supreme wondrous abiding, then this bhikṣu obtains this samādhi, unmoving and skillful, and what he desires is obtained.”

The bhikṣus addressed the Buddha, saying, “What samādhi is this, that a bhikṣu obtains this samādhi, with body and mind unmoving, abiding in supreme wondrous abiding?” The Buddha said to the bhikṣus, “If a bhikṣu depends upon a village, in the morning he puts on his robe and grabs his bowl, and enters the village to beg for food. Returning to his residence, he puts away his robe and bowl, and washes his feet. Entering the forest, or an empty room, he sits in an empty place. He contemplates, focusing his mind... even up to... the skillful training of breathing, contemplating cessation. This is called the samādhi of a bhikṣu sitting correctly in contemplation, with body and mind unmoving, abiding in supreme wondrous abiding.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

807. Two Months

Thus have I heard. At one time, The Buddha was abiding in the Icchānaṅgala Forest.

At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “I wish to sit in dhyāna for two months. The bhikṣus should not come and go here, except for a bhikṣu to deliver food, and at the time of the Upavasatha. At that time, after the Bhagavān had said this, he then sat in dhyāna for two months. There were no bhikṣus who disturbed him, except to deliver food, and at the time of the Upavasatha.

At that time, after the Bhagavān’s two months of sitting in dhyāna had passed, he awoke from dhyāna. With the bhikṣu saṃgha seated before him, he said to the bhikṣus, “Suppose those on outer paths, who have left home, were to question you, ‘What seated dhyāna was Śramaṇa Gautama in for those two months?’ You should reply, “For two months, the Tathāgata was abiding in the contemplation of sitting in dhyāna with ānāpānasmṛti.” For what reason? In these two months, I was mindful of ānāpāna, abiding a long time in contemplation, When there was an in-breath, I was mindful of the in-breath, knowing it as it really was; when there was an out-breath, I was mindful of the out-breath, knowing it as it really was; whether long or short. Aware of the entire body, I was mindful of the in-breath, knowing it as it really was; aware of the entire body, I was mindful of the out-breath, knowing it as it really was. Calming bodily formations, I was mindful of the in-breath, knowing it as it really is... even up to contemplating cessation, mindful of the out-breath, knowing it as it really is. In all cases I knew them. At that time, I thought, “This abiding in contemplation is still coarse. I will now bring this contemplation to rest, and then cultivate an even more subtle state, and cultivate abiding in that.

“At that time, I calmed that coarse contemplation, and then entered a more subtle contemplation, and abided there a long time. Then there were three devaputras from the highest realm of form who came in the night to the place where I was. One devaputra said these words: ‘Śramaṇa Gautama has arrived.’ Another devaputra said, ‘He has not arrived, he is arriving.’ The third devaputra said, ‘He has neither arrived, nor is he arriving. This abiding in cultivation is the cessation of an arhat.’” The Buddha said to the bhikṣus, “If there is that which may be correctly said to be the noble abiding, the divine abiding, the pure abiding, the abiding of training, the abiding of beyond training, the abiding of the Tathāgata, that those trainees who have not obtained it should obtain it; those who have not arrived at it should arrive at it; those who have not realized it should realize it; that present abiding in the bliss of the Dharma, for those beyond training, is, ‘ānāpānasmṛti,’ and may be correctly said to be this. For what reason? Ānāpānasmṛti is the noble abiding, the divine abiding, the pure abiding... up to... that present abiding in the bliss of the Dharma, for those beyond training.”

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.

808. Kapilavastu

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Kapilavastu, in the Nyagrodha Park.

At that time, Śākya Mahānāman went to the place of the bhikṣu Venerable Kāma* (迦磨). After bowing his head at the feet of Kāma Bhikṣu, he withdrew to one side, and spoke to Kāma Bhikṣu, saying, “What, Venerable Kāma, is abiding at the stage of training the same as the abiding of the Tathāgata, or is the abiding of a trainee different from the abiding of the Tathāgata?”

Kāma Bhikṣu replied, saying, “Mahānāman, the abiding of a trainee is different from the abiding of the Tathāgata. Mahānāman, one who abides as a trainee severs the Five Hindrances and abides there. The abiding of the Tathāgata has fully severed the Five Hindrances, fully aware, and having severed them at the root, like cutting off the head of a palm tree, they will not grow further, and future dharmas will not arise.

“At one time, the Bhagavān was abiding in the Icchānaṅgala Forest. At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, ‘I wish to sit in dhyāna for two months. You bhikṣus should not come here, except for a bhikṣu to deliver food, and at the time of the Upavasatha.’ ... As previously stated, up to... that present abiding in the bliss of the Dharma, for those beyond training.

“For this reason you should know, Mahānāman, that the abiding of a trainee is different from the abiding of the Tathāgata.” Śākya Mahānāman heard what Kāma Bhikṣu had said. Delighted, he arose from his seat and departed.


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